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Brian Basilico: Why You Want To Use WordPress

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning!”

You may be too young to remember this song, and I am not sure if there has been a remake of the 60’s hit by Peter, Paul & Mary. It was a song written by Pete Seeger that spoke of revolution and change a’ coming.

Websites and the Internet are tools (hammers) and platforms. There are garages all over the country and the world that are filled with tools and good intentions. In the world of websites, you have three groups of people…those who try to do it all by themselves, those who have someone else create it for them, but want to maintain it themselves to save money (with the best intentions in mind) and those who have others build it, update it and maintain it.

In the old days (2000’s), people would spend $10,000 or even up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a website design. With free platforms like Wix, Web.com and WordPress, you can find people who will make you a website for $5 to $5000 (or free if you do it yourself). I don’t care what you pay for the design, you must maintain it. No other website platform is as simple to maintain as a WordPress website, and it is also the most flexible to evolve with your business!

I had a client tell me today that they are looking for a new vendor, because they are unhappy with the results of their website. Realistically, their website has fallen behind on updates and has had no new content since it was built. They did not want to change platforms (WordPress), they just wanted to update the look and feel and the content. Getting another company to build you a new WordPress website, because you are not happy with the results, is like selling your car because it’s dirty and you don’t have time to wash it or change the oil!

If you want results, you’d better be ready to get dirty (invest some time in maintenance and updates), or be willing to hire help to do that for you. I don’t care what kind of website platform you have, if you don’t pay attention to it, it will demand your attention sooner or later!

Evolution Of The Web

We have come a long way from having to code websites in notepad by writing static HTML. Websites started out limited, clunky and ugly by most page layout standards. Then, along came graphics, audio and video — but these were limited by modem dial-up speeds. The most we could hope for was “Hamster Dance!” or “You’ve Got Mail!” in AOL. High speed Internet today is a bit better than dial-up from an AOL modem. I have 100MB Internet speed(which actually maxes out at 50MB at best – nice marketing), but is still 1750 times faster than the 32KB modem that first brought the Internet to my house!

Evolution Of The Website

Website change and evolution has been quietly happening for a while. Websites were originally the property of the IT divisions of companies. Then, marketing companies started hiring coders as web-masters and started mastering and selling them. Now, web hosting companies, marketing agencies, PR agencies, teenagers and companies from India and China offer cost-effective options for website design. None of these options are better or worse (although some may argue); your choice really just depends on your needs, budget and business!

Evolution Of WordPress

WordPress started out in 2003 as a blogging platform, and has grown into the de facto website publishing tool with over 10,000,000 sites by 2013 and currently accounting for over 45% of all (or new) websites on the Internet. It has grown into a full CMS (content management system) with so much power, that every major business (real estate, financial, and small business) is now striving to harness its power.

Another key indicator is that hackers are trying to exploit it so often, that you have to actively try to prevent that from happening. Don’t be fooled. Just thinking, “I don’t want to be hacked, so I won’t use WordPress,” does not protect you. Try making a Joomla website and not updating it and watch what happens. WordPress is the most supported website platform for anti-hacking, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and functionality improvements on the web.

How To Make WordPress Work For You And Your Business

  1. Set It Up – You can either download directly from WordPress.org or from most hosting companies (HostGater, GoDaddy, Bluehost, DreamHost, etc.).
  2. Add A Theme – There are themes that are included with the download. I suggest you look at what’s available for free at WordPress.org, or you can use paid theme sites like ThemeForest, WooThemes or Elegant Themes.
  3. Add Plugins – Take a look at the plugins that are installed with your system and delete the ones you don’t plan to use (you can always reinstall them later). Get plugins at WordPress.org that will improve your website’s functionality.
  4. Promote It – You will want to get a Google account for Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to make sure your website can be found. I also suggest that you post a link to all of your social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) to help open the traffic floodgates.
  5. Protect It – Be sure to back it up often. Most hosting companies can help you automate this. I suggest you use plugins called “Wordfence” and “Limit Login Attempts” to prevent hackers. Also, if you have the username of Admin or admin, create a new username and delete the “admin” username – Hackers start there.
  6. Prepare To Grow It – Make sure you update your website and its content every week. I have a reminder in my calendar to do this every Saturday morning. Adding a blog and writing new content weekly can help to get your website found by people!

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